Cairo spring 2012
30 January, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I’ve returned to Cairo for this semester. I arrived on 25 January, the birthday of the Egyptian revolution. The plane was not as full as usual; tourism’s down. This was good for me in the immediate, as I was able to slide through customs in like five minutes, and also tourists are annoying, but it is bad in the big picture for the economy. Etc.
Maadi is home this semester; my roommate/landlady Carolyn is a generous and tolerant university librarian with a couple extra rooms. Only a few days into our cohabitation, I smashed her French press to bits on the kitchen floor. Horrified at my clumsiness, both in the original glass-smashing and then again in the cleaning process which left me a little bloodied, I promised her a new one. Naturally the store in Zamalek I sourced was closed yesterday when I ventured out there; tonight’s activities include a walk to Maadi Grand Mall where there is a fabled Bodum-supplier in business. I’ve been to Maadi Grand Mall twice before. Once, Jeremy and I went looking for sleeping bags to take on our trip to Eastern Europe/sub-Saharan Africa. Anyone who has been to the MGM will know that our success was measured and in fact limited to finding clothing that would only be appropriate in a trashy gay men’s nightclub. And I’m referring to both the men’s and the women’s clothing. The second time I went with dear Jeff as part of a journey around Digla; our takeaway was about the same, and neither of us purchased anything. God willing the tides turn when I go searching.
Wanton property destruction aside, I’ve busied myself, primarily, with jetlag, determining that the best way to beat the beast is to sleep all afternoon days in a row. I’m joking–that’s actually the worst way. Luckily classes started yesterday and I was forced to be a human all day, from morning prayer when I woke up (the nearest mosque is close enough to wake me up if I’m not sleeping deeply) until I got home from Zamalek. I even luxuriated in a taks all the way from Zam to Maadi, as I find crawling along the corniche in a Fiat at 5 mph for an hour is infinitely more relaxing than coasting down the tracks in a metro car; I don’t know what I was thinking. And then I gave the guy 40le for a 23le ride, doing my part to boost the economy.
The assignment this semester is teaching. I finished my MA last semester and was promptly given a position teaching two sections of ARIC/HIST 246 – Survey of Arab History in my department. Immediately, I loved it. Yesterday’s lesson plan was abbreviated, just passing out the syllabus and asking the students why they took the course (though I told them they weren’t allowed to say “because I had to” and that stumped them for a bit), but it was really fun. For obvious reasons, I’m not going to discuss anything specific about the students or my classes here, but I was really pleased with how yesterday went. Enough that this entire paragraph came and went and there’s not a single joke; it’s not often that I’m inspired enough to write entirely earnestly, as this body of writing will attest.
Shaping up to be a good semester, in short.